A classic bunion, also known as Hallux Abductovalgus or HAV, is a bony protrusion on the side of the joint. As the front portion of the foot spreads, the big toe drifts towards the second toe and the long bone by the big toe pushes outward. The development of bunions is strongly hereditary. Many individuals think bunions are caused by shoes, but bunions actually develop from excessive weakness in the bone structure of the foot causing the joints to move out of proper alignment. Improperly fitted shoes will aggravate the condition and contribute to the development of a more significant deformity. Common daily activities, such as walking and running, become a painful experience.
Treatment ranges from very conservative methods to surgical intervention, and decisions are made depending on pain tolerance, the patient's lifestyle and the extent of the bunion. X-rays are taken to define the deformity. Initially, wider shoes may be recommended to alleviate any pressure on the bunion joint. Pain management can include cortisone injections or anti-inflammatory medications while a more decisive course of treatment is being determined.
Orthotics are generally recommended to reduce and slow down the progression of the bunion. When conservative measures fail to provide relief, the patient is given various surgical options, including removing the bony protrusion on the side of the first long bone of the foot (metatarsal), cutting the bone, and realignment of the great toe.
As a bunion worsens, the joint in the big toe can become stiff and arthritic, and joint replacement may be required. In both cases, hardware such as pins, screws, wires are used to hold the bone in place during the healing process. Premier Foot Specialists will discuss your specific needs and determine which course of conservative or surgical intervention will produce the most favorable results.
Have your feet examined by a podiatrist today in order to evaluate the bone structure of your feet. Early detection and proper preventive foot care can prevent painful problems in the future. Often, orthotics are recommended early on, even as early as 3 years of age